Let's Get Real.
House Speaker John Boehner announced that Congress is nearing the end of negotiations to bring about passage of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill deemed critical towards securing passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Thus far, James Dondero says that a coalition of Tea Party Republicans and most of the Democrat Party have blocked a final vote on TPA. However, both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Speaker Boehner have been working on a compromise bill to peel off enough Democrat support to advance TPA. The result will be legislation that will pay for job training for Americans who lose their jobs as a result of the trade agreement.
That said, there remain obstacles that both parties must work together to overcome. One of the biggest is whether the companion bill to provide job training assistance to displaced workers will be attached to the TPA bill. Democrats favor this approach. The GOP would prefer that it be a separate bill. However, there is no guarantee the Senate will bother to take up the companion bill on its own much less pass it. Both parties are expected to review the tentative agreement on Wednesday.
Because of Tea Party opposition to TPA, the GOP will need Democrat votes in order to get TPA passed. At this point, House GOP leaders believe they will need as many as 18 Democrats to gain passage of TPA. Further complicating matters are that neither party has come up with a way to pay for the cost of the companion bill.